CHICAGO - Two Chicago police officers are facing charges in connection with an on-duty shooting earlier this summer in Pilsen that left two people wounded, one of them critically.
Officer Ruben Reynoso, 42, and Sgt. Christopher Liakopoulos, 43, were both charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm and official misconduct. They could face a maximum of 30 years in prison, according to State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
The officers are accused of lying about being fired upon first.
Their "claims were contradicted by videotaped evidence," which shows they actually fired first, Foxx said at a news conference.
Reynoso has been on the job since 2003, and Liakopoulos since 2001, Foxx said. Both were assigned to the Major Accidents Unit at the time of the July 22 shooting.
At the time of the shooting, both officers were in plainclothes and riding in an unmarked squad car when they stopped to investigate a group of people in the 1000 block of West 18th Street around 7 a.m., a source told the Sun-Times.
Gunfire erupted and Miguel Medina, 23, was shot in the back and thigh. Foxx said he was not in possession of a firearm. "The officers did not have provocation or justification to shoot the unarmed victim," she said "Evidence does not support use of deadly force."
Another person on the street returned fire, Foxx said, but none of the officers were hit.
Attorneys for Medina, said they intended to file a lawsuit against Liakopoulos on Friday in federal court, alleging false arrest and excessive force.
"Miguel Medina was not committing any crimes or breaking any laws," attorney Gregory Kulis said in a statement. "Miguel Medina walked away. At that time, it is believed that Chicago Police Officer Christopher Liakopoulos started firing at the individuals, including Miguel Medina."
Reached by phone Friday, Medina said the officers "shot me for no reason," adding, "Once the video is released, it will show what happened."
Medina said he was walking to a friend’s apartment the morning of the shooting and wasn’t holding anything in his hands when he was shot. Medina said he was angry and that the city "really has to do a better job of hiring the officers they put out there."
"It makes me feel mad," he said. "I understand there’s good cops out there, but there’s bad cops out there, too."
Medina said he was "recovering slowly but surely" from his wounds.
Police Supt. David Brown initially said the officers approached a group of four masked people around 7 a.m. outside a store. When the officers identified themselves, a gunman in the group "immediately" started firing at them in their squad car, Brown said.
A 35-year-old "innocent bystander" in the area suffered a graze wound to his leg, Brown said at the time, adding it was unclear if the man was struck by a bullet fired by police or the individual in the group the officers approached.
Police had originally arrested a 17-year-old boy and a 25-year-old man after the incident, but the two aren’t currently facing charges.
Foxx said an investigation is continuing into the involvement of the minor in the shooting incident. There is no police body camera footage of the incident, Foxx said.
Both Reynoso and Liakopoulos have been relieved of their official duties. They surrendered themselves at a police station Thursday night, Foxx said.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the shooting and has a deadline of Sept. 22 to release materials related to the shooting, including videos.
"We do not celebrate in the charging of police," Foxx said, adding that her office supports the "hardworking men and women" of the police force.
"But we cannot ignore or stand by acts of unprovoked violence even by the hands of those who are sworn to serve and protect out community," she said.
Both officers were expected to appear Friday afternoon in bond court, where a fuller accounting of evidence against them will be read by prosecutors.